Regiony winiarskie w Gruzji

Wine regions in Georgia

February 21, 2022
By the 18th century all wines in Georgia were trational style, but it became popular to make classic wines, when Georgians begin to study in European winemaking academies – Ioseb Guntsadze from Imereti, Zakaria Jorjadze from Kakheti. Most sources credit Prince Aleksandze Chavchavadze – Statesman, poet and founder of Georgian classic wine. Chavchavadze invested heavily in developing his 90 hectares estate. Importing vines and oak barrels from Europe, and building sizable marani for both qvevri and classic wine production. First Georgian AOC was developed in 1830 and officialy registered at 1886. Tsinandali – dry white wine – bland of Rkatsiteli and Kakhetian Mtsvane, modelled on white Bordeaux, fermented and aged in oak barrels. Next was Prince Ivane Mukhranbatoni who visited Bordeaux and Champagne in 1875 and, upon his return, converted a portion of his family’s Kartli estate to producing fine wines in European Style, which garnered prizes from French competitions. By now 55000 hectares are under vine in five main winemaking region of Georgia.

Kakheti grapes

Kakheti – eastern part of Georgia, it has long been a locus not just for winegrowing, but also for education and research. As far as 1120 Arcen Ikaltoeli founed academy where viticulture and traditional winemaking where tought. Today Kakheti produces 68% of the country’s wine. Terroirs in Kakheti are primary distinguished by four factors: their proximity to the main Caucasus mountain Range, the level of humidity and precipitation, soils and altitude. Kakheti is drier and hotter region than wester Georgia. Main kakhetian Grape varieties are: White – Rkatsiteli wichi is most planted white vine and from international grape varieties is more like Chardonnay and Viognier. Kakhetian Mtsvane which is more like Sauvignon blanc, with its herbal aroma characteric and enjoyable acidity Kisi which was lost variety and renewed about 15 years ago, full body, complex, rich gamma of aromas Khikhvi – mainly the aromatic grape variety, it was very popular to make wines such as Port or Jeres Kakhetian Mtsvivani – also lost grape variety and renewed few years ago, we call it noble grapes because it gives wine which can be compared with Bordeaux bland, Rich Rieslings, Californian Chardonnay From reds there is flagman – Saperavi – most planted red variety in Georgia, you can meet Saperavi in central Georgia – Kartli also. Saperavi is dark with colour, full bodied and rich. Changes in each terroir so you can understand soil and climat from Saperavi wine – mostly for me it looks like Shiraz from Australia Most Popular AOC in Kakhetian Region: Tsinandali – Rkatsiteli 85 % and Mtsvane 15 % white classic dry wine Manavi – Kakhetian Mtsvane 100% white classic dry wine Mukuzani, Kvareli and Napareuli – all of them are Saperavi 100% classic dry red wine from different parts of kakhetian AOCs Kindzmarauli and Akhasheni – both are also Saperavi 100% classic naturally semi sweet wines, mostly used after Georgian supra for desserts


region is Kartli Next region is Kartli – Central Georgia, where wine was born 8000 years ego. Kartli is very interesting with its terroirs and especially soils. The region is characterized by yellow-grey, massive, loose, fine grained, non carbonate sandstones, mottled clay with basalt and mostly volcanic stone lands. Because of middle climate and such types of soils, in Kartli we meet endemic grape varieties which is more sin skin and adapted on climat. From whites: Goruli Mtsvane – light bodied, long living classic wine which is more like Pinot Girgio from Italy Chinebuli – translate it from Georgian it’s “Noble” – most interesting with its herbal and mineral aromas, I compare classic Chinebuli to Mosel Riesling From reds we meet: Takvkeri – light skin grape variety, mostly used for light bodied red wines with fruity and perfumed aromas, also its best for Rose wines and Sparkling wines Shavkapito – smooth, elegant wine with aromas of earthiness and spices with dark fruit, most like Zinfandel In Kartli there is only one AOC – Ateni – where is very small production of sparkling wines as in traditional Champagne method and also tank method.


Next region is Imereti – western part of Georgia, with its cooler and wetter climat side of the Likhi Range. The black sea moderates summer and winter temperatures and allows late ripening variaties to grow well. The soils are rich with sandstones and clay shales. As noted imeretian qvevri is called churi, so we will meet both classic and churi style wines. Endemic white grapes are Tsitska – very easy, light bodied wine, with citrus aromas. Tsitska is so light in some of parts of imereti tha it will definitely need to be blanded with other white wine. most like to French Semmilion Tsolikouri – fruity, aromatic and easy drinking white which is very popular in Georgia, as churi as classic one. Dependes on climat, Tsolikouri can be as tropical aromatic wine and also very citrus type. Mostly like Austrian Gruner Veltliner Krakhuna – full bodied, Soft and juicy wine with fruitiness and hint of mineral aromas, Krakhuna is best to blend with Tsitska to give it light character, or from churi to have a richest gamma of aromas. Can compare with Chardonnay from Chablis From reds there are three main reds: Otskhanuri Sapere with morte tannins and intensly perfumed aromas, Aladasturi – light bodied wine which can be compared to Pinot Noir, and also best for Rose wines. Dzelshavi – interesting fruity red light bodied wine, also best for Rose wines

Racha and Lechkhumi

Racha and Lechkhumi are mountain winemaking regions in Georgia, with most high altitude and specific rocky soils, climat is too cold in winter but summer is perfect condition for vine. Hot days and more sunny hours because racha is full of slops, and cold nights when grape can gather more aromatic characters. Racha was always popular and there was also notable winemakers like Khipiani family, who began to make classic wines in mountains. Grape varieties where chosed by nature, to be comfortable in strong, cold winter. Main White grapes are – Rachuli Mtsvane and Rachuli Tetra, both of them are light with body and medium intense with aromas, depends on soil and climate they can have as fruity as mineral character From reds there are legendary grapes Usakhelouri – most expensive grape variety in Georgia, its mainly from Lechkhumi but you can meet in Racha also. At the time of soviet union Usakhelouri was popular as naturally semi sweet red wine but for now trends are changing and dry Usakhelouris are more popular – aromas of black fruit, earth, truffles, spices. I can compare it to some of Saint Emillion Grand crus or even Merlot from Pomerol Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli – this two grapes is little bit similar with character, both are light bodied, smooth, rich with aromas and sensitive to terroir There is only one AOC in Racha – Khvanchkara – most popular red naturally semi sweet wine from Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli bland.

Fives region

Fives region is Subtropical Region, Black sea side parts as – Abkhazia, Samegrelo, Guria and Achara – for now its renewing regions by winemaking styles, but its very rich with endemic varieties. From Samegrelo we meet main red grape – Ojaleshi – interesting full bodied, rich with spicy aromas in wine. looks like Cabernet Franc From Guria and Achara there is most popular – Chkhaveri – rose colour grape variety from you can make 3 types of wine colour. White when its just pressed and fermented, amber when you have skin contact 2-3 weeks, rose when you have skin contact more than month. All of them are interesting with wiled aromas and fresh hinty taste.
Author: Tazo Tamazashvili Tazo Tamazashvili Best Sommelier in Georgia 2018